New Features in PowerBI



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PowerBI is an industry-leading analytics platform that has been providing business insights and intelligence for years. The recent updates and October releases bring some exciting new enhancements. This release focuses on several enhancements across the board that will help improve the capabilities and user experience.  The analytics and visualization, reports, and data preparation are all getting some exciting boosts. Let’s take a look.

Reporting and Automatic Page Refresh

First off, the reporting engine is entering near-real time with their introduction of Automatic Page Refresh (APR) for direct query sources. This means that your report will automatically query new data at your specified intervals while you have the report open. You will no longer need to worry about whether you are working with the most up to date data or do manual page refreshes. A few things to note, this feature will work differently on desktop versions versus the PowerBI Service. The functionality will depend on where the report lives and what admin settings are in place on the service instance, so if you are utilizing APR on BI Service, be sure to look into the settings if it is not behaving as expected.

Q&A Enhancements

Next up are some enhancements to Q&A that increase visualization and customization options for these queries. The Q&A features a new search bar that both provides query suggestions and allows you to free-type questions for visualization. The search will display results in visual graphs and is customizable for color and presentation. The suggested search fill or autocomplete tools are extra time savers, allowing you to customize your Q&A query and even define terms that the search doesn’t recognize.


Visualization enhancements include new ways of presenting data, such as the Hierarchical Variance Table, the Linear Gauge, and the Tag Cloud. These are all designed to make it easier to visually process data and results to improve the end-user experience.

Query Diagnostics

New enhancements in October brought much more visibility and a dynamic understanding of how your queries are operating with query diagnostics. This is a public preview feature in Power Query that, when enabled, will record the database activity as you run a particular query so that you can see what is really going on underneath that query. It also shows you which queries are running in the background to help identify chokepoints and performance drains.

These are just a few of the major feature additions and enhancements included in the October release of Microsoft’s PowerBI. Additional enhancements are improving functionality and user experience in analytics, data connectivity, and more. For detailed information about the release, check out their Feature Summary. Stay up to date on the latest releases to make the most of your applications. For help managing your Microsoft application suite, consider an IT management firm as an efficient and cost-effective solution.

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